How Did A Female Gibbon Kept Alone End Up Giving Birth?
You hear fairly often about animals that can spontaneously change sex in order to reproduce, or even have a baby without help. I mean, we’ve all seen Jurassic Park, right?
This…is not that. But it was a decent mystery for awhile, anyway.
Momo the female gibbon is kept at Saikai National Park Kujukushima Zoo & Botanical Garden in Japan. She’s in her enclosure alone, both when on display and when ruminating in private, which is why her keepers were pretty surprised when she gave birth in 2021.
They did some DNA testing on both Momo and her son to find out who the father was, and though the reveal wasn’t on an episode of Jerry Springer, I have to imagine it was still pretty dramatic.
They learned that one of the males at the zoo, Itou, was the father.
Still, since their cages were separated by sturdy bars and jagged chicken wire, they weren’t sure how he’d managed it.
Well, it turns out that when they’re not on display, their enclosures are separated by a board partition.
And in that partition is what can rightly be described as a… ahem… hole of glory.
“We think it’s very likely that on one of the days that Itoh was in the exhibition space, they copulated through a hole.”
The holes are only about 9mm (.35 inches) in diameter, which makes this is pretty impressive feat, even if it’s not a spontaneous birth.
There have been instances at other zoos when animals did manage to reproduce without a hole (or a male), which might be more interesting.
But not more entertaining to imagine.
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